Monday, November 30, 2015

Wanderings in South Eastern Seas


WANDERINGS IN SOUTH EASTERN SEAS

The Golden Legacy Article
written by Rozan Yunos
Bandar Seri Begawan
Sunday, November 29, 2015

THERE are not many books about Brunei written in the past. The few that are written are cherished. Almost all of these books were written by men authors and there are times we missed the views from the gentler side. However there is one chapter of a book describing Brunei, if not an entire book at least, written by a lady author. The book is entitled ‘Wanderings in South Eastern Seas’ and it was published in 1924 by T Fisher Unwin Ltd of London. The author was Charlotte Cameron.

Charlotte Cameron was described as an intrepid traveller. In that book, she listed the itinerary of places she had visited from 1910 to 1923 where for each visit, she wrote a book and the list include “Twenty-four Thousand Miles in South America” in 1910; “The Imperial Durbar at Delhi” in 1911; “Russia” in 1912; “Twenty-seven Thousand Miles in Africa”in 1913; “War Work Lecturing from the Atlantic to the Pacific“ from 1917 to 1918; “Twenty Thousand Miles in Alaska and Yukon” in 1919; “One Hundred Thousand Miles in the Southern Seas” in 1921 to 1922; and “Wandering in South-Eastern Seas” in 1922 to 1923.

Who was Charlotte Cameron?

One Indonesian blogger has written extensively about her and published his writings in a blog called ‘NaratasGaroet’. He was interested in her because she also wrote about a number of places in Indonesia that she travel to in that same book.

What we do know about Charlotte Cameron is that she was a very rich woman from England as she could afford to travel around the world during those years. Her full name was Charlotte nee Wales-Almy Cameron. She was born in either 1872 or 1873 and was first married to Major Donald Cameron, who died about 1901. She re-married on May 19, 1901 to Ernst Auguste George Jacquemard de Landresse but this was apparently a very short-lived second marriage, that she did not use the name of her second husband. Cameron died in 1946.

During a visit to Australia, many of the media who covered the arrival of Cameron reviewed her books which she has written up to that time. In a review of her book, ‘A woman’s winter in Africa’ (1913), which is a record of the trip ‘Twenty-seven Thousand Miles in Africa’ Sydney’s Freeman Journal noted that Cameron was the most intrepid woman traveller since the time of Mary Kingsley.

In that winter travel around Africa in 1913, Cameron started from Mombasa on the east coast to the extreme towards Sierra Leone in the west. In six months she recorded the 26,000-mile journey down the coast as well as a thousand miles across Rhodesia to Victoria Falls.

Traveling for her is an adventure. She wrote “when there runs through your veins the blood of sailors, soldiers, adventures, and hardy pioneers, yours is not a temperament that rejoices much in rest. Having seen most of this wonderful world, you have an unquenchable desire to explore yet farther”.

The Brunei that she wrote in 1923 was an interesting place. His Royal Highness Sultan Muhammad Jamalul Alam II ibni al-Marhum Sultan Hashim Jalilul Alam Aqamaddin, was reigning then as the 26th Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam.

He ascended the throne as the eldest son of Sultan Hashim Jalilul Alam Aqamaddin. When his father died in May 1906, the responsibility of the Sultan was in the hands of the Council of Regency as he was only 17 years old then.

It was only in 1918 that His Royal Highness was coronated as the 26th Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam. Sultan Muhammad Jamalul Alam II took a great deal of interest in the progress of the country, encouraging advances in agriculture, medicine and education.

Charlotte Cameron noted that the year before her visit, His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales came over to Brunei in March 1922 and “… upon his arrival, the Sultan, with an attendant holding the yellow fringed umbrella of State, made his first speech in English to the Prince, saying it was a great pleasure to welcome him to Brunei…”

Cameron also wrote about the royal etiquette and customs of Brunei including the types and sizes of candles to be lighted during the presence of the royal family and the pengiran peranakans and noted that the candles of the Resident and the Pengiran Bendahara were exactly the same in weight and height.

She noted that the Sultan was very proud of the British, and acknowledged the benefit that has accrued to his kingdom from their association. She got it wrong though when she said that Brunei has had a British Resident for more than 60 years. It was only in 1906 that the British Resident was in Brunei and by 1923 it had only been 17 years and not 60 years as she had written.

She also wrote about Sultan Muhammad Jamalul Alam II’s visit to Singapore when the Prince of Wales was there. Sultan Muhammad Jamalul Alam was taken around to see the sights of Singapore. The British Resident noted that His Royal Highness Sultan Muhammad Jamalul Alam was the “most dignified of all the Sultans present” during that visit. Cameron observed that the Sultan “is descended from men who have ruled since the 14th century, so it is evident that blood does tell”.

She wrote about a royal custom of Brunei then which was the presentation of cigars. A huge ‘Brunei’ cigar is at least a foot long and is made of the best native tobacco. It was said that the Sultan presented a Brunei cigar to the Prince which was a foot and a half in length and the Prince gallantly accepted it.

She also noted that Sultan Muhammad Jamalul Alam “having mixed more or less with English people, appreciates the fact that to keep fit one must exercise, therefore every day he is rowed to the mainland and, accompanied by his yellow umbrella bearer, he indulges in a five-miles constitutional…”

Cameron also wrote about the time when British Resident Lucien A Allen invited the Sultan and the royal family for a Christmas celebration. The Sultan with his two sons (later to become Sultan Ahmad Tajuddin and Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien III) and with a number of attendants came for what she described as an unprecedented event.

In the rest of that chapter about Brunei, Cameron wrote about Brunei. She described many things about Brunei including the padians, the silversmiths and the weaved brocades with gold threads. She described the padians “…the market women of Brunei wear immense hats. As they sit in their canoes, you might imagine a village of mushrooms to have sprung up…”

She also talked about ‘Kutch’ (cutch) works factory. She talked about “… battles raged about Brunei and volumes of history have been written…” She described the throne in the audience hall of the palace as a quaint and beautiful throne in silver and gold. It was from this throne that the Sultan made his first short speech in English to welcome the Prince of Wales and on which he was coronated in 1918.

That short chapter was a glimpse into Brunei in 1923. The British Resident Lucien Allen described the year in his annual report as “… one of undeniable prosperity for Brunei and the prospects of the future are still more bright…”

The writer of The Golden Legacy column – the longest running column in The Brunei Times – also runs a website about Brunei at bruneiresources.com.

The Brunei Times

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Brunei Top of World in Girls' Education



Brunei on top of the world in girls’ education
on: November 28, 2015
| Azlan Othman |

BRUNEI Darussalam clinched the top spot globally in the category of female enrolment in secondary and tertiary education, according to the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) latest Global Gender Gap Report.

The country’s overall gender equality ranking moved up 10 positions in 2015 to 88 out of 145 countries from 98 out of 142 countries last year.

The Global Gender Gap Index 2015, which was released this week, ranked the economies according to how well they are leveraging their female talent pool, based on economic, educational, health-based and political indicators.

Brunei Darussalam is among the top 20 countries globally with the highest women to men ratio in higher education.

The Sultanate has some of the best educated female citizens in the world, the report noted. They outnumber their male counterparts in tertiary education institutions. Brunei is one of the countries where women are more likely to take up tertiary education and are better educated than men, the WEF report said.

Brunei’s jump in overall rankings is also attributed to its improved ‘Economic Participation and Opportunity’ category score which the country gained due to the presence of more female legislators, senior officials and managers as well as female professional and technical workers.

The Sultanate scored exceptionally well in economic participation where it was ranked at 23 (compared to 36 in 2014).

The country was placed in the top spot in the subcategory of earned income. In terms of educational attainment, it stood at the 70th spot (compared to 88th in 2014).

However, the Sultanate was ranked at 131 (126 in 2014) in the category of ‘health and survival’.

The report said that the gap between men and women in health, education, economic opportunity and political representation has closed by four per cent in the past 10 years. In economic terms, the gap has reduced by only three per cent with progress towards wage equality and labour force parity stalling markedly since 2009/2010.

Over the past few decades post independence, women in Brunei have taken great strides in making themselves level with men both educationally and professionally with literacy among girls reaching its peak at 96.3 per cent in 2013 and 30 per cent of them seeking tertiary level qualifications. Currently in Brunei, more women than men are holding civil service positions with salaries comparable with those of their male counterparts.

Brunei’s government believes that women’s involvement in all aspects of the community is needed in the nation’s development and that women carry with them a different perspective that provides balance in decision making.

In a titah delivered at the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in September this year, His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam said that with the pace of globalisation, lifelong learning has been given serious attention. His Majesty stated that girls and women have equal opportunities to upgrade their knowledge and skills, particularly in evolving areas like ICTs.

“Women have attained high positions in various professional fields such as medicine, law, education, business and engineering, with progressive education and equal opportunities for employment.”

His Majesty added that in the past decade, the participation of women in the workforce has increased from 59 per cent to over 70 per cent. “With women making up almost half of Brunei Darussalam’s population, their contribution to the national development is of great significance.”

His Majesty further stated that women have equal access to health facilities. “Over the past two decades, women’s life expectancy has improved to about 80 years. Women are also increasingly active in business ventures through various credit financing schemes,” the monarch said, noting that more than half of Brunei Darussalam’s Small and Medium Entreprises (SMEs) are owned by women who have achieved economic self-reliance.

Regionally, Brunei Darussalam is part of the Asean Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children. The Asean Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Children was also adopted during Brunei Darussalam’s Asean Chairmanship in 2013.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

Saturday, November 28, 2015

List of Permanent Secretaries and Deputies (Updated 28 November 2015)

Latest changes (new Deputy Permanent Secretary MINDEF) included up to 28th November 2015.

PERMANENT SECRETARIES

Prime Minister's Office (PMO)
Yahya bin Haji Idris (Corporate Affairs and Civil Service)
Dato Paduka Haji Jamain bin Haji Julaihi (Energy)
Haji Hamzah bin Haji Sulaiman (Research and Development, Economy and Finance)
Dato Paduka Haji Joanda HA Rashid (Law and Welfare)
Adi Shamsul bin Haji Sabli (Industry)
Pengiran Datin Shazainah bte Pg Dato Paduka Shariffudin (International)
Haji Abd Mutalib bin Pehin Dato Haji Yussof (Media and Cabinet)

Ministry of Defence (MINDEF)
Datin Paduka Hajah Suriyah binti Haji Umar

Ministry of Finance (MOF)
Haji Nazmi bin Haji Mohammad
Ahmaddin bin Haji Abd Rahman (Performance)

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MOFAT)
Dato Paduka Lim Jock Hoi
Datin Tan Bee Yong
Dato Paduka Haji Matnor bin Haji Jeludin
Sheikh Haji Fadilah bin Sheikh Haji Ahmad
Emaleen bte Abdul Rahman Teo

Ministry of Home Affairs (MOHA)
Haji Md Abdoh bin Dato Seri Setia Hj Abd Salam

Ministry of Education (MOE)
Dr. Haji Junaidi bin Haji Abd Rahman (Core Education)

Ministry of Religious Affairs (MORA)
Dato Seri Setia Haji Abd Aziz bin Orang Kaya Maharaja Lela Haji Md Yusof

Ministry of Development (MOD)
Haji Md Lutfi bin Abdullah (Administration and Finance)
Eddie bin Dato Paduka Haji Sunny (Technical and Professional)

Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT)
Hajah Normah Suria Hayati Pehin Dato Haji Md Jamil

Ministry of Communications (MOC)
Haji Azhar bin Haji Ahmad

Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS)
Dato Paduka Dr. Haji Affendy bin Pehin Dato Haji Abidin
Datin Paduka Dr. Hajah Norlila binti Dato Paduka Haji Jalil

Ministry of Health (MOH)
Haji Zakaria bin Haji Serudin

DEPUTY PERMANENT SECRETARIES

Prime Minister's Office (PMO)
Muhammad Nor Shafie bin Dato Paduka Haji Jalil (IT, E-Government and Industry)
Dr. Hajah May Faezah bte Haji Ahmad Arifin (Economy and Finance)
Haji Md Azmi bin Haji Hanifah (Energy and Industry)
Md Riza bin Dato Paduka Hj Md Yunos (Corporate and Public Administration)

Ministry of Defence (MINDEF)
Abu Suffian bin Haji Ali
Capt. Hj Md Amirul Shahnoel bin Hj Md Noel

Ministry of Finance (MOF)
Haji Abu Bakar bin Haji Ibrahim
Pengiran Nimala binti Pengiran Mohamed

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MOFAT)
Haji Sulia bin Haji Nayan
Adanan bin Haji Jaafar
Hajah Tutiaty binti Haji Abd Wahab
Haji Osman bin Haji Mohd Yusof

Ministry of Home Affairs (MOHA)
Haji Idris bin Hj Md Ali
Haji Md Sunadi bin Buntar

Ministry of Education (MOE)
Dr. Hajah Romaizah binti Haji Mohd Salleh
Datin Dr. Hajah Anita Binurul Zahrina bte Pehin Dato Haji Abd Aziz

Ministry of Religious Affairs (MORA)
Haji Harun bin Haji Juned
Haji Roslan bin Tajaah

Ministry of Development (MOD)
Haji Marzuke bin Haji Mohsin

Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT)
Khairuddin bin Abd Hamid
Wardi bin Md Ali

Ministry of Communications (MOC)
-

Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS)
Noorjusmin bin Haji Abd Samad

Ministry of Health (MOH)
Dr. Rahmah binti Haji Said
Dr. Hazri bin Haji Kifle

Note:
This list is superseeded by the latest appointment. Link here.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Stray Buffaloes

News from the past. 50 years ago.
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Police launch campaign against stray buffaloes

NOVEMBER 20, 1965 – Photo shows a car on the Muara road giving a particularly wide berth to two bulls fighting on the road. Police have launched a campaign against stray buffaloes and cattle on Brunei’s main roads. They have told their owners to keep them in enclosures, especially at night. Over the last few years, stray cattle have caused many accidents, some of them fatal. A law was passed some years ago making it an offence to let cattle go stray.

Monday, November 23, 2015

The Kianggeh Coal and US-Brunei Treaty of 1850





My article was published on my column The Golden Legacy in The Brunei Times on Sunday 22 November 2015:-

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USS Constitution was in Brunei in 1845
The Kianggeh Coal and the US-Brunei Treaty of 1850

Rozan Yunos
Bandar Seri Begawan
Sunday, November 22, 2015

THE invention of the steamship had a profound effect on the world of trade, military conflict and colonialism. James McLin (2012) noted that “while not the sole cause of victory in colonial warfare, nor a guarantee of victory, the steamship was an indispensable tool in the expansion of colonialism in the 19th century. Allowing for the tactics of gunboat diplomacy, lightning fast wars, and vast improvements in logistics, the path of European colonialism was shaped by the steamship.”

Adam R Nelson writing an article entitled “Nationalist Science and International Academic Travel in the Early Nineteenth Century: Geological Surveys and Global Economics, 1800-1840” published in 2006 noted that “Britain’s demand for coal to run steam-powered vessels mounted steadily in the 1830s and became a strategic preoccupation of its geological surveys around the world. In this context, the British and the Americans frequently clashed over mineral deposits in far-flung places.”

It was in 1837 that an American vessel, the Himmaleh, sailed along the South China Sea and noted the extensive coal deposits along the northern coast of Borneo.

In 1840, three years after a naturalist on board the Himmaleh had first reported the existence of coal in Brunei, the Royal Geographical Society published a memoir on Borneo which mentioned a deposit of coal on the nearby island of Labuan.

William Buckland, a renowned geologist then noted that if there is indeed coal in Labuan, then Labuan would become a very important station used by steamships travelling between China, India, Australia and the great islands of the Malay Archipelago.

In fact, this is the main reason why the British wanted to acquire Labuan from Brunei and went to great extent in forcing the Sultan to sign a treaty surrendering Labuan with its gunboat diplomacy.

According to Shulman in his book “Coal and Empire” (2015), the American interest in coal found in Brunei had “come about entirely by accident”. It was George Tradescant Lay’s report that brought about the interest. George Tradescant Lay was a missionary from the British and Foreign Bible Society, a missionary organisation operating from Batavia and Manila which was seeking to further access to Southeast Asia.

Lay joined the ship Himmaleh which was owned by an American merchant house in Canton called Olyphant and Company. Olyphant and the Bible Society agreed to work together because Olyphant’s owner, David WC Olyphant had a strong Quaker faith. Lay also had extensive experience in natural history as he had served on HMS Blossom on its Pacific voyage where he served as a naturalist.

It was on May 10, 1837 when the ship Himmaleh reached Brunei. A day to day account of the Brunei visit was published in a periodical called the Chinese Repository which was published in Canton. The periodical was published from May 1832 to 1851 to inform Protestant missionaries working in Asia about the history and culture of China, of current events, and documents.

Lay and a member of the crew became guests of His Royal Highness Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin II and stayed at the palace. It was while staying at the palace, Lay received a sample of local coal which was brought to the palace for his perusal. He was told that the coal came from a place called the ‘Kianggi’ but no one could tell him exactly where that coal was found. It was not until 29 May 1837, about two days before he left Brunei, that Lay accidentally found the coal seam while returning from a trek outside the Brunei town.

His companion described the find, “… on our return we stopped by the side of a pleasant stream, (the Kianggi, before noticed,) under the shade of some large trees, to rest ourselves. Here Mr Lay struck his hammer upon a rock, and found it was coal. On further examination, it appeared that there was a large vein of superior bituminous coal, easily accessible, being not over a mile from the town, and capable of being transported most of the way by water.”

Lay later recalled that “… I struck my hammer upon what seemed to be a vein of sandstone but to my very great delight, I discovered that it was the very thing I had so often sought for in vain, the coal of ‘Kianggi’…”

Lay published his memoirs of the voyage in New York two years later, and knowledge of his discovery spread very quickly in both Great Britain and the United States.

The British Governor in Bengal tested the Brunei’s coal through local appointed agents and found that the coal appeared to be outstanding steamship fuel. This excited the shipping world as British steamers can now go further and this would also serve to facilitate trade with China by using coal from Brunei and Borneo.

The discovery also interested James Brooke and with his own discovery of additional coal crops identified around Brunei in 1838, Brooke concluded that the British Government need to secure the monopoly and establish a coal station nearby. Brooke eventually managed to carve out an extremely large area from Brunei to eventually build up what is today’s Sarawak.

The acting American Secretary of the Navy, David Henshaw also assigned Captain John Percival and the USS Constitution the task of gaining access for the US to support American steamers in Southeast Asia. In his secret instruction to Percival, he instructed Percival to find coal and purchase such rights if necessary for the United States.

It was in March 1845 when the Constitution arrived in Brunei. His Royal Highness Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin II warmly welcomed the ship’s expedition with a nine-gun salute. However Lieutenant Chaplin, deputising for the ill Percival, failed to negotiate an agreement with the Sultan and returned empty-handed.

The need for coal continued and in August 1849, the American Secretary of State John Clayton instructed Joseph Balestier, the US Consul in Singapore to undertake a series of diplomatic mission in Southeast Asia including Brunei. It was on June 23, 1850 when Joseph Balestier signing on behalf of the United States and His Royal Highness Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin II signed a treaty between the United States of America and Brunei called “The Treaty of Peace, Friendship, Commerce and Navigation”.

This treaty outlined the relationship of the United States and Brunei and is still in place today. It was ratified by President Millard Fillmore on January31, 1853, two months before he left office on March 4, 1853 and the treaty was subsequently proclaimed by his successor, President Franklin Pierce on July 12, 1854.

Lastly, an interesting question would be, ‘What would have happen to the history of Brunei if George Tradescant Lay did not discover that coal in Kianggeh?’

The writer of The Golden Legacy column – the longest running column in The Brunei Times – also runs a website about Brunei at bruneiresources.com.

The Brunei Times

Friday, November 20, 2015

Brunei and LNG Challenges

The Oxford Business Group posted the following news:

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Brunei Darussalam Looks To Work Around LNG Challenges
17 November 2015

An upgrade to its fleet of tankers could help Brunei Darussalam’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) sector weather external headwinds, which appear unlikely to ease in the near to medium term.

While Brunei is taking steps to diversify its economy, the energy sector remains at its core, with hydrocarbons revenues accounting for around half of GDP.

The country’s LNG sector revolves around the partly state-owned Brunei LNG (BLNG) plant in Lumut. Originally constructed in 1972, the plant’s capacity has been upgraded over the years, and it now produces around 7.2m tonnes per annum.

BLNG continues to play a key role in both regional LNG supply and the domestic economy, shipping around 6.71m tonnes of gas to Japan and South Korea each year.
Capacity boost

The country’s capacity to ship hydrocarbons, which is the cornerstone of Brunei’s export-oriented energy sector, also received a boost in July, when the majority state-owned Brunei Gas Carriers (BGC) took delivery of a new, 154,800-cu-metre LNG transport vessel.

The Amadi is the second tanker to join BGC since November of last year, when the firm took delivery of its sister ship, the Amani. Both vessels were constructed by Hyundai Heavy Industries in South Korea as part of a contract worth in excess of $350m, according to local media reports.

The sale marks part of the Sultanate’s push to modernise its LNG transport fleet in anticipation of increased demand in the region.
Price pressure

In the near to medium term, however, international price pressures will likely continue to weigh on the LNG sector’s growth prospects, according to global energy consultancy Wood Mackenzie.

Spot prices have already fallen by around two-thirds since early last year, according to the company, and could remain low for years, increasing the risk of temporary plant closures.

LNG prices in Japan and Korea dropped to $6.70 per million British thermal units (Btu) for short-term deliveries in November, down from approximately $20 in early 2014, according to energy information service Platts.

Additionally, Brunei could experience further price squeezes, as emerging gas producers look to expand their global market share.

In 2013, when South Korea and Brunei were negotiating the renewal of a 10-year LNG supply contract, South Korea opted to renew for only a five-year term, citing a decision to import shale gas at lower prices from the US starting in 2017.

The announcement came after a Japanese consortium comprising Tokyo Electric Power, Tokyo Gas and Osaka Gas – some of BLNG’s largest customers – chose to halve imports from 6.01m tonnes per year to 3.4m under the terms of a new 10-year contract, signed in 2013.

Regional links

Given current price dynamics, pursuing greater involvement in energy trade in the region, which consumes nearly 70% of global supply, is seen as a key long-term strategy for the Sultanate.

According to the “BP Energy Outlook 2035”, global energy consumption is expected to rise by 37% through to 2035, with the vast majority (96%) of that demand growth slated to take place in non-OECD countries. Demand in the Asia-Pacific region in particular is expected to drive growth in LNG supply, which is forecast to expand by an average of 7.8% per annum from 2013 to 2020.

Japan, which has been the dominant recipient of natural gas in the region since the early 2000s, is projected to remain the world’s largest importer in 2035, with around 13bn cu feet imported per day, according to BP. Bruneian LNG currently accounts for 15% of Japan’s gas imports.

According to consultancy KPMG, the current LNG facility construction boom is slated to double global output by 2030, up from around 250m tonnes per year in 2012.

With demand on the rise, the Asia-Pacific region presents considerable opportunities, as its energy and natural resources supply chain is still viewed as both underdeveloped and costly, KPMG noted.

In light of dwindling domestic reserves, shipping is seen as a natural entry point for Brunei to expand its presence in the regional supply chain, as reflected by recent efforts to modernise the BGC LNG transport fleet.

“If Brunei is looking at expanding its [LNG] business opportunities beyond its shores, then there’s scope [for it],” Quah Chee Yong, Shell’s general manager of shipping and maritime for Asia-Pacific and Middle East, told local media in September.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

List of Permanent Secretaries and Deputies (19 November 2015)

Latest changes included up to 19th November 2015.

PERMANENT SECRETARIES

Prime Minister's Office (PMO)
Yahya bin Haji Idris (Corporate Affairs and Civil Service)
Dato Paduka Haji Jamain bin Haji Julaihi (Energy)
Haji Hamzah bin Haji Sulaiman (Research and Development, Economy and Finance)
Dato Paduka Haji Joanda HA Rashid (Law and Welfare)
Adi Shamsul bin Haji Sabli (Industry)
Pengiran Datin Shazainah bte Pg Dato Paduka Shariffudin (International)
Haji Abd Mutalib bin Pehin Dato Haji Yussof (Media and Cabinet)

Ministry of Defence (MINDEF)
Datin Paduka Hajah Suriyah binti Haji Umar

Ministry of Finance (MOF)
Haji Nazmi bin Haji Mohammad
Ahmaddin bin Haji Abd Rahman (Performance)

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MOFAT)
Dato Paduka Lim Jock Hoi
Datin Tan Bee Yong
Dato Paduka Haji Matnor bin Haji Jeludin
Sheikh Haji Fadilah bin Sheikh Haji Ahmad
Emaleen bte Abdul Rahman

Ministry of Home Affairs (MOHA)
Haji Md Abdoh bin Dato Seri Setia Hj Abd Salam

Ministry of Education (MOE)
Dr. Haji Junaidi bin Haji Abd Rahman (Core Education)

Ministry of Religious Affairs (MORA)
Dato Seri Setia Haji Abd Aziz bin Orang Kaya Maharaja Lela Haji Md Yusof

Ministry of Development (MOD)
Haji Md Lutfi bin Abdullah (Administration and Finance)
Eddie bin Dato Paduka Haji Sunny (Technical and Professional)

Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT)
Hajah Normah Suria Hayati Pehin Dato Haji Md Jamil

Ministry of Communications (MOC)
Haji Azhar bin Haji Ahmad

Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS)
Dato Paduka Dr. Haji Affendy bin Pehin Dato Haji Abidin
Datin Paduka Dr. Hajah Norlila binti Dato Paduka Haji Jalil

Ministry of Health (MOH)
Haji Zakaria bin Haji Serudin

DEPUTY PERMANENT SECRETARIES

Prime Minister's Office (PMO)
Muhammad Nor Shafie bin Dato Paduka Haji Jalil (IT, E-Government and Industry)
Dr. Hajah May Faezah bte Haji Ahmad Arifin (Economy and Finance)
Haji Md Azmi bin Haji Hanifah (Energy and Industry)
Md Riza bin Dato Paduka Hj Md Yunos (Corporate and Public Administration)

Ministry of Defence (MINDEF)
Haji Azhar bin Haji Ahmad
Abu Suffian bin Haji Ali

Ministry of Finance (MOF)
Haji Abu Bakar bin Haji Ibrahim
Pengiran Nimala binti Pengiran Mohamed

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MOFAT)
Haji Sulia bin Haji Mayan
Adanan bin Haji Jaafar
Hajah Tutiaty binti Haji Abd Wahab
Haji Osman bin Haji Mohd Yusof

Ministry of Home Affairs (MOHA)
Haji Idris bin Hj Md Ali
Haji Md Sunadi bin Buntar

Ministry of Education (MOE)
Dr. Hajah Romaizah binti Haji Mohd Salleh
Datin Dr. Hajah Anita Binurul Zahrina bte Pehin Dato Haji Abd Aziz

Ministry of Religious Affairs (MORA)
Haji Harun bin Haji Juned
Haji Roslan bin Tajaah

Ministry of Development (MOD)
Haji Marzuke bin Haji Mohsin

Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT)
Khairuddin bin Abd Hamid
Wardi bin Md Ali

Ministry of Communications (MOC)
-

Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS)
Noorjusmin bin Haji Abd Samad

Ministry of Health (MOH)
Dr. Rahmah binti Haji Said
Dr. Hazri bin Haji Kifle

Note:
This list is superseeded by the latest appointment. Link here.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Reflections of Bandar Seri Begawan






Rebecca Oi
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
Sunday, November 15, 2015

ATTENDING one of Pg Dato Paduka Hj Asmalee Pg Ahmad’s inspirational talks is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for many as it heightens interest and knowledge about art in its many forms.

This accomplished veteran artist aims to motivate art students with his many masterpieces and during a question and answer session, he was inquired on “why he enjoyed painting historical images and what was his goal in pursuing a career in art”.

For starters, Pg Dato Paduka Hj Asmalee’s interest in painting began as a hobby when he was a little boy.

“Historical events transpire every second, minute, hour and day and this continues on until our very last breath,” he said during an interview with The Brunei Times. “Only through painting and photographs can chronological facts be recorded and the past or present state of affairs as well as environment can be properly portrayed.”

“Art came before everything and all forms of writing originally evolved from pictograms. By learning to record visible objects, and expressing ideas through engraving or painting on relatively flat, two-dimensional surfaces, humans produced visual aids even before speech,” he added.

Historical transformation can be seen in his panoramic painting depicting Brunei Town from the 1940s to 1950s and a 7.5-by- 2.5-feet painting of Bandar Seri Begawan during its independence in 1984, both of which describe the same location.

“There are vast differences in both paintings due to the physical changes and modernization which have taken place in the sultanate. The memories are nostalgic reminders of the past that has shaped our country while the future which is beyond our knowledge and grasp is something to look forward to,” said Pg Dato Paduka Hj Asmalee.

The sketch of Brunei Town in the 1940s reminded the veteran artist of his earlier days as a little boy living with his family in the capital during the Japanese occupation.

“My father’s house used to be located at the current Lapau (Audience Chamber) and the Dewan Majlis site, right in the centre of town. Both of the present sites were built and constructed above the Kianggeh River which was reclaimed and filled with earth for the construction of new roads and other facilities,” he reminisced.

The river was diverted by excavating a new drainage system which starts from the junction of Chung Hwa Middle School (CHMS) to the Residency Bridge. The Tamu Kianggeh (Kianggeh market) and nearby buildings are also situated above the river, while the wooden bridge that previously joined the town and the market was reduced to barely 12 feet from its original 100 feet.

“Tall buildings did not exist and when the Allied Forces bombed the town, the townspeople were faced with complete and utter destruction. That was a moment of suffering and hardship as the population had to rebuild the municipality from scratch,” he said.

The town was then renamed as Bandar Seri Begawan during the reign of Sultan Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien who ascended the throne on June 6, 1950.

“The Architect of Modern Brunei focused on raising the country’s standard of living and when his son, His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaullah, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam took over the reign, an era of expansive developments began – this is Brunei as we see it today,” explained Pg Dato Paduka Hj Asmalee.

The paintings were executed in one centimetre boxes similar to a mural and with small, distinct dots of colour called pointillism which was first developed by Georges Seurat; in this case Zikir (remembering Allah SWT) is recited as Pg Dato Paduka Hj Asmalee applies the dots.

When asked how many dots were needed to cover the whole painting, he replied that it was uncountable due to the many layers of dotted brush strokes and a variety of colours used.

Taking six months to finish the painting and three to four hours a day reciting the Zikir, has gave the veteran artist great pleasure and satisfaction, especially when he stood back and viewed the end result.

Painting the past and present using his unique technique of Zikirism has opened his mind and vision along with a deep understanding regarding life in this world and the influences taking place – economically, politically and socially.

Pointing to a photograph which was taken of the capital from Jalan Berita recently and of the same vista as his paintings, Pg Dato Paduka Hj Asmalee said that there has been a great development which is of vast contrast to that of 1984.

He added that Bandar Seri Begawan grew 10 times to its present size of 100.36 square kilometres and there are now buildings surrounding the capital such as the majestic Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque and magnificent Legislative Council Chamber (Lapau) which are testament to the beauty of Bandar Seri Begawan.

“Whatever we are enjoying today are blessings from Allah SWT and the future looks bright. Alhamdulillah, I am grateful for the gift and artistic talent that has bestowed upon me by the Great Almighty and it has not gone to waste,” said Pg Dato Paduka Hj Asmalee.

The Brunei Times

Monday, November 16, 2015

Brunei in 1915 - History


 

Brunei in 1915
written by Rozan Yunos
published in The Brunei Times
on Monday, November 16, 2015

IN 1915, one hundred years ago, World War I had just started. It was in September 1914 when the First Battle of the Marne began resulting in a French victory, halting the German advance towards Paris. In 1915, Tsar Nicholas had taken command of the Russian armies and the British forces used gas in a battle near Loos, but the shifting winds caused 60,000 British casualties instead.

Far from the battle fields of Europe, Brunei was coming to the end of the first decade since the British Resident took over the government in 1906. The Brunei Annual Report of 1915 was written by its then British Resident, Ernest Barton Maundrell. Thirty-five-year-old Maundrell who had entered the Federated Malay States (FMS) Civil Service in 1903 was first appointed to serve at Seremban, Negri Sembilan, before he was transferred to Singapore in 1911, and in 1915 was appointed Acting Resident in Brunei. His annual report dated April 5, 1916, was signed just before he was murdered a few weeks later on May 18, 1916 by a Sikh policeman.

The year 1915 for Brunei was described by Maundrell as “one of quiet progress and beyond a rise in the cost of commodities the peaceful life of the kampongs was little disturbed by the Great War”.

Though the year of 1915 was not as quiet as Maundrell described. The year 1915 was the first year that the appointment of the British Resident was separated from the post of the Resident in Labuan. Prior to that, the British Resident in Labuan was also the British Resident in Brunei.

It was on February 19, 1915 that Maundrell became the first full time British Resident in Brunei. The post of Assistant Resident who used to be the one who governed Brunei on a day to day basis was abolished.

A number of other appointments were also made during the year. The post of Superintendent of Monopolies was replaced by a Treasurer and Superintendent of Customs and was filled by EG Goldfinch. E Roberts whose name is immortalised for Jalan Roberts in Bandar Seri Begawan was in charge of public works and surveys.

Brunei citizens were also appointed to be office bearers. Among them were Pengiran Anak Hashim who was the Magistrate for Belait and Dato Petinggi, the Magistrate for Tutong. The state finances were just break even. Brunei had borrowed about $439,750 from the Federated Malay States Government. A sum of $300,000 was taken out in 1906 to 1909 and $139,750 from 1911 to 1914. These loans were used for a number of items, mostly for the redemption of monopolies rights, purchase of tulin titles, purchase of cession monies and also for the erection of government buildings, purchase of launch and other general purposes. The total revenues for 1915 was $129,529 and the total expenditure was $114,518.

1915 also saw a considerable expansion in the trade of Brunei. Both imports and exports showed large increases compared to the year before. Maundrell described this increase due to enhanced prices brought about by World War One (1914 - 1918) as well as greater volume of imports and exports.

The exports of cutch increased by $32,000, jelutong and other forest produce by $30,000, plantation rubber by $60,000 but coal production maintained at the previous year’s level. Due to the failure of the rice harvest at the beginning of the year, rice was imported in larger quantities.

The Brooketon Coal Mines in Muara total output was 30,413 tonnes of which 22,163 tons were exported and 232 tons used locally. Four Norwegian and two British ships entered Muara to get bunkers. However the majority of the coal was exported to Labuan and sold to the Straits Steamship Company, Heap Eng Moh SS Co as well as three ships of the Japanese Navy.

Cutch continued to be a main export item and provided work for some 1,000 people of which 150 were directly employed by the Island Trading Company. Most of the cutch extract were exported to Great Britain but some were also exported to America, Japan and China.

The supply of bark from the more accessible part of mangrove were getting scarcer. Supplies were now from Tutong and Weston in North Borneo.

Drilling for oil continued. The British Borneo Petroleum Syndicate lease at Rampayoh was worked on by Koloniale Petroleum Maatschappij. Well Number Two at a depth of 1,890 feet found in 1914 had produced at the rate of four tons per day.

There were also prospecting work in other parts of Brunei such as in Paya Minuman near Kampong Ikas as well as in Jerudong.

The padi crop of 1915 failed due to a prolonged drought at the beginning of the year. Almost all of the padi production was carried out by the Kedayans.

Several rubber plantations near Brunei reached producing stage. More areas were planted including in Labu Estate (400 acres), Brunei Estate (475 acres) and the Batu Apoi Estate (415 acres). About 406 acres of land were registered especially in Kiulap, Kota Batu and the Baru-Baru Island. The Headman of the Kedayans in Kampong Kiarong together with about 20 villagers were given 15 acres each for padi clearings.

The number of students in the vernacular school in Brunei Town was around 40 but the school was closed for a few months due to the difficulty in finding a replacement for the late schoolmaster, Awang Yahya. Another vernacular school was opened in Muara for about a dozen boys at a local Malay house.

A new lapau or Audience Hall for the Sultan was built on stone piers over the river. A school house with teacher’s quarters was completed as well as a definite start with a bridle path to Tutong and Belait.

All in all, it was indeed a year of quiet progress. Maundrell expressed with confidence that during the past ten years, good foundation had been laid for the renewed prosperity of Brunei, “a prosperity to which the raiat (rakyat or people), free to enjoy the fruits of his labours.”
All rights reserved
Courtesy of The Brunei Times

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

List of Permanent Secretaries 2015 (Latest Cabinet Changes)

Second bout of appointments and transfers with the appointment of several Permanent Secretaries as a Minister and Deputy Ministers in the new cabinet as well as new ministerial portfolios, new Permanent Secretaries and Deputy Permanent Secretaries were appointed tonight 11 November 2015. The Updated List of Permanent Secretaries and Deputy Permanent Secretaries is as follows in order of protocol:

PERMANENT SECRETARIES

Prime Minister's Office (PMO)
Yahya bin Haji Idris (Corporate Affairs and Civil Service)
Dato Paduka Haji Jamain bin Haji Julaihi (Energy)
Haji Hamzah bin Haji Sulaiman (Research and Development, Economy and Finance)
Dato Paduka Haji Joanda HA Rashid (Law and Welfare)
Adi Shamsul bin Haji Sabli (Industry)
Pengiran Datin Shazainah bte Pg Dato Paduka Shariffudin (International)
Haji Abd Mutalib bin Pehin Dato Haji Yussof (Media and Cabinet)

Ministry of Defence (MINDEF)
Datin Paduka Hajah Suriyah binti Haji Umar

Ministry of Finance (MOF)
Haji Nazmi bin Haji Mohammad
Ahmaddin bin Haji Abd Rahman (Performance)

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MOFAT)
Dato Paduka Lim Jock Hoi
Datin Tan Bee Yong
Dato Paduka Haji Matnor bin Haji Jeludin
Sheikh Haji Fadilah bin Sheikh Haji Ahmad
Emaleen bte Abdul Rahman

Ministry of Home Affairs (MOHA)
Haji Md Abdoh bin Dato Seri Setia Hj Abd Salam

Ministry of Education (MOE)
Dr. Haji Junaidi bin Haji Abd Rahman (Core Education)

Ministry of Religious Affairs (MORA)
Dato Seri Setia Haji Abd Aziz bin Orang Kaya Maharaja Lela Haji Md Yusof

Ministry of Development (MOD)
Haji Md Lutfi bin Abdullah (Administration and Finance)
Eddie bin Dato Paduka Haji Sunny (Technical and Professional)

Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT)
Hajah Normah Suria Hayati Pehin Dato Haji Md Jamil

Ministry of Communications (MOC)
Haji Azhar bin Haji Ahmad

Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS)
Dato Paduka Dr. Haji Affendy bin Pehin Dato Haji Abidin
Datin Paduka Dr. Hajah Norlila binti Dato Paduka Haji Jalil

Ministry of Health (MOH)
Haji Zakaria bin Haji Serudin

DEPUTY PERMANENT SECRETARIES

Prime Minister's Office (PMO)
Muhammad Nor Shafie bin Dato Paduka Haji Jalil (IT, E-Government and Industry)
Dr. Hajah May Faezah bte Haji Ahmad Arifin (Economy and Finance)
Haji Md Azmi bin Haji Hanifah (Energy and Industry)
Md Riza bin Dato Paduka Hj Md Yunos (Corporate and Public Administration)

Ministry of Defence (MINDEF)
Haji Azhar bin Haji Ahmad
Abu Suffian bin Haji Ali

Ministry of Finance (MOF)
Haji Abu Bakar bin Haji Ibrahim
Pengiran Nimala binti

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MOFAT)
Haji Sulia bin Haji Mayan
Adanan bin Haji Jaafar
Hajah Tutiaty binti Haji Abd Wahab

Ministry of Home Affairs (MOHA)
Haji Idris bin Hj Md Ali
Haji Md Sunadi bin Buntar

Ministry of Education (MOE)
Dr. Hajah Romaizah binti Haji Mohd Salleh
Datin Dr. Hajah Anita Binurul Zahrina bte Pehin Dato Haji Abd Aziz

Ministry of Religious Affairs (MORA)
Haji Harun bin Haji Juned
Haji Roslan bin Tajaah

Ministry of Development (MOD)
Haji Marzuke bin Haji Mohsin

Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT)
Khairuddin bin Abd Hamid

Ministry of Communications (MOC)


Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS)
Noorjusmin bin Haji Abd Samad

Ministry of Health (MOH)
Dr. Rahmah binti Haji Said
Dr. Hazri bin Haji Kifle

Note:
This list is superseeded by the latest appointment. Link here.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Brunei-US Navies CARAT Exercise 2015

Brigadier General (U) Dato Seri Pahlawan Haji Hamzah bin Haji Sahat, Royal Brunei Armed Forces (RBAF) Joint Force Commander; Rear Admiral Charlie Williams, Commander of the Task Force 73; and Craig Allen, US Ambassador to Brunei Darussalam, as well as other senior officers from RBAF and senior commanding officers of the combined task force ships from Brunei Darussalam and the United States in a group photo

Rear Admiral Charlie Williams, Commander of the Task Force 73 during an interview with the Bulletin

Among the uniform personnel at the event. – PHOTOS: DEAN KASSIM


CARAT addresses maritime security threats
on: November 03, 2015

| Nuri Sufri |

THE US Navy (USN) will continue to be ever present in the Southeast Asian region to address the maritime security threats. This was highlighted at the opening ceremony of the 21st annual Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT), a joint military exercise between the Royal Brunei Armed Forces (RBAF) and the United States Navy (USN). The launching ceremony which was held at the Multi-National Coordination Centre (MNCC), Muara Naval Base will continue through to November 11.

The event was officiated by Rear Admiral Charlie Williams, Commander of the Task Force 73 and attended by Brigadier General (U) Dato Seri Pahlawan Haji Hamzah bin Haji Sahat, RBAF Joint Force Commander and Craig Allen, US Ambassador to Brunei Darussalam, as well as other senior officers from RBAF and senior commanding officers of the combined task force ships from Brunei Darussalam and the United States.

In his opening remarks, Rear Admiral Charlie Williams said, “Our nations share a strong commitment to security cooperation that contributes to the stability and peace of the region.”

“We continue to benefit from our mature maritime partnership that allows us to increase the complexity of our training each year and enhance interoperability between our forces,” he added.

Speaking to the Bulletin on current maritime security issues in the region, the Commander of the Task Force 73 said, “This region has shown for many years that there is a security threat in its waters. Southeast Asia as a whole, the South China Sea in particular represents such a strategic waterway for all the maritime nations.”

“I think we share a very common mission to maintain a safe and secure maritime environment,” he added.

He explained that the CARAT exercise addresses the maritime security threats by maintaining a persistent presence in the region and in partnership with the RBN, last month’s Southeast Asia Cooperation and Training (SEACAT) “is specifically geared to address maritime security and threats”.

He explained that the USS Lassen (DDG-82), a guided missile destroyer, which is currently being brought into this year’s CARAT exercise, has been operating in Southeast Asia for years; “sailing to international waters and flying its helicopters in international air space”.

The aim of CARAT Brunei 2015 is to strengthen maritime partnership, enhance regional cooperation and address security challenges within the region. The exercise will be participated by personnel and assets from the Royal Brunei Land Force (RBLF), Royal Brunei Navy (RBN) and Royal Brunei Air Force (RBAirF).

The Commander Task Group (CTG) for this exercise is led by Captain HB Le, Commodore of Destroyer Squadron 7’s (DESRON 7) from the US Navy and Commander Shamsul Bahren bin Haji Taweh from RBN, Deputy Commander Task Group (DCTG).

CARAT is a bilateral exercise series between the US Navy, US Marine Corps and the armed forces of nine partner nations in South and Southeast Asia, including Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Timor-Leste.

In this year’s exercise, the RBAF’s Sikorsky S-70i Black Hawk helicopter will make deck landings onboard the USS Lassen, while a US Navy MH-60R helicopter will make landings on the flight deck of the Royal Brunei Ship (KDB) Darulehsan. A P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft will conduct maritime domain awareness missions alongside patrol aircraft from the RBAF. Additionally, the expeditionary fast transport ship USNS Millinocket (T-EPF 3) will participate in a CARAT exercise for the first time during the sea phase.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Brunei Darussalam Eyes Pacific Trade Benefits

The Oxford Business Group on 30 October 2015 reported the following:

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Brunei Darussalam Eyes Pacific Trade Benefits

Foreign direct investment (FDI) and trade in Brunei Darussalam are expected to increase under the recently agreed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal, dovetailing with the Sultanate’s efforts to diversify its economy.

Trade growth would be welcome news given the current economic climate. According to the latest figures from Brunei’s Department of Economic Planning and Development, total trade was down 26.6% year-to-date in July at BN7.9bn ($5.6bn), with exports down 35.2% year-on-year, while imports rose by 5.2%.

Trade talks

The TPP marks an expansion of the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement, set up by Brunei, Chile, New Zealand and Singapore in 2006.

The proposed addition of Australia, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, the US and Vietnam, first mooted in 2008, will change the bloc’s composition significantly, with the new group accounting for around 40% of the world’s GDP and roughly one-third of global trade.

Talks among the TPP’s 12 potential member states on a proposed trade agreement have, at times, been marked by wrangling, with negotiators working over a five-year period to reach consensus on a series of issues, ranging from the removal of tariffs to intellectual property (IP) rights.

Hopes of a breakthrough came in early October in the US city of Atlanta, when Shinzo Abe, the Japanese prime minister, announced that parties had finally reached “broad agreement” on a deal, which he described as a “major outcome not just for Japan but also for the future of the Asia-Pacific”.

The deal also represents a considerable success for Brunei, alongside other founding TPP members, bringing hopes of a welcome boost in trade activity.

Combined income gains for the participating members could be as high at $110bn per year, according to Joshua Meltzer, senior fellow in global economy and development at the Washington-based Brookings Institution, with global benefits reaching close to $300bn.

Moving forward

October’s meeting represented a key stage in the process, paving the way for individual member states to move towards ratifying the deal, although some members are likely to face domestic political headwinds, including Canada and the US.

While much is still to be known about the specifics of the agreement, as the majority of negotiations have taken place behind closed door and the text of the agreement has yet to be released, some general information is known on several key trade issues, such as the bloc’s plans to do away with tariffs on at least 18,000 products among member states.

The removal of these barriers is expected to pave the way for the eventual signatories to build on their competitive strengths and gain entry to what have previously been relatively restricted markets.
Mixed bag for Brunei

In Brunei’s case, food imports and manufactured goods from countries outside the scope of current free trade agreements (FTAs) could become less expensive and more available, while the Sultanate’s exporters are set to gain better access to non-ASEAN markets around the Pacific.

Broader in scope than a conventional FTA, the TPP also sets out commercial rules in areas that have traditionally been sticking points, such as resolving investor-state disputes and IP rights.

Additionally, the TPP reportedly addresses cross-border trade in services, as well as investment and non-tariff trade barriers – all of which could yield benefits for the Sultanate, according to local media coverage.

The agreement is also expected to provide impetus to improve Brunei’s regional and global competitiveness. Ease of doing business in Brunei has improved sharply since last year, according to the World Bank’s most recent “Doing Business” rankings. The Sultanate ranked 84th out of 189 countries this year, compared to 105th in the 2015 survey. The 21-place improvement was due in large part to a 107-rank jump in the starting a business category, to 74th place, with better online procedures and simplified registration requirements cited as key improvements.

Obtaining a share of an expanding Asia-Pacific FDI market is also likely to be high on the Sultanate’s agenda, and this stands to benefit from the TPP. According to the US Trade Representative’s summary of the investment provisions of the deal, investments made in other member states could receive protections, with national treatment and most-favoured-national treatment both explicitly mentioned. This could provide added protections for the Sultanate’s $30bn sovereign wealth fund, the Brunei Investment Agency, as well as inspire confidence in investors looking to expand into the Sultanate.

However, as with any trade deal, some elements of the agreement could be less positive for Brunei. Further specifications on the treatment of state-owned enterprises (SOEs), for example, could impact the Sultanate, particularly if limits were to be imposed on the sectors in which SOEs can operate or the market share they can enjoy.

With the TPP clearly aimed at encouraging private enterprise, Bruneian businesses will also have to contend with a much more competitive environment. As such, Brunei will have to strategically position itself in relation to other FDI magnets that are set to benefit from the TPP, including Vietnam and Malaysia, particularly given Vietnam’s recently agreed FTA with the EU, announced in early August.


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Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Brunei's Permanent Secretaries 2015 (New Cabinet)

With the appointment of several Permanent Secretaries as a Minister and Deputy Ministers in the new cabinet as well as new ministerial portfolios, new Permanent Secretaries and Deputy Permanent Secretaries were appointed last night 3rd November 2015. The Updated List of Permanent Secretaries and Deputy Permanent Secretaries is as follows in order of protocol:

PERMANENT SECRETARIES

Prime Minister's Office (PMO)
Yahya bin Haji Idris (Corporate Affairs and Civil Service)
Dato Paduka Haji Jamain bin Haji Julaihi (Energy)
Haji Hamzah bin Haji Sulaiman (R&D, Economy and Finance)
Haji Mohd Rozan bin Dato Paduka Haji Mohd Yunos (Media and Cabinet)
Dato Paduka Haji Joanda HA Rashid (Law and Welfare)
Adi Shamsul bin Haji Sabli (Industry)
Pengiran Datin Shazainah bte Pg Dato Paduka Shariffudin (International)

Ministry of Defence (MINDEF)
Datin Paduka Hajah Suriyah binti Haji Umar

Ministry of Finance (MOF)
Haji Nazmi bin Haji Mohammad
Eddie bin Dato Paduka Haji Sunny

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MOFAT)
Dato Paduka Lim Jock Hoi
Datin Tan Bee Yong
Dato Paduka Haji Matnor bin Haji Jeludin
Sheikh Haji Fadilah bin Sheikh Haji Ahmad
Emaleen bte Abdul Rahman

Ministry of Home Affairs (MOHA)
Haji Md Abdoh bin Dato Seri Setia Hj Abd Salam

Ministry of Education (MOE)
Dr. Haji Junaidi bin Haji Abd Rahman (Core Education)

Ministry of Religious Affairs (MORA)
Dato Seri Setia Haji Abd Aziz bin Orang Kaya Maharaja Lela Haji Md Yusof

Ministry of Development (MOD)
Haji Md Lutfi bin Abdullah (Administration and Finance)

Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT)
Hajah Normah Suria Hayati Pehin Dato Haji Md Jamil

Ministry of Communications (MOC)
Haji Abd Mutalib bin Pehin Dato Haji Yussof

Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS)
Dato Paduka Dr. Haji Affendy bin Pehin Dato Haji Abidin
Datin Paduka Dr. Hajah Norlila binti Dato Paduka Haji Jalil

Ministry of Health (MOH)
Haji Zakaria bin Haji Serudin

DEPUTY PERMANENT SECRETARIES

Prime Minister's Office (PMO)
Muhammad Nor Shafie bin Dato Paduka Haji Jalil (IT, E-Government and Industry)
Dr. Hajah May Faezah bte Haji Ahmad Arifin (Economy and Finance)
Haji Md Azmi bin Haji Hanifah (Energy and Industry)

Ministry of Defence (MINDEF)
Haji Azhar bin Haji Ahmad
Abu Suffian bin Haji Ali

Ministry of Finance (MOF)
Haji Abu Bakar bin Haji Ibrahim

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MOFAT)
Haji Sulia bin Haji Mayan
Adanan bin Haji Jaafar
Hajah Tutiaty binti Haji Abd Wahab

Ministry of Home Affairs (MOHA)
Haji Idris bin Hj Md Ali
Haji Md Sunadi bin Buntar

Ministry of Education (MOE)
Dr. Hajah Romaizah binti Haji Mohd Salleh
Datin Dr. Hajah Anita Binurul Zahrina bte Pehin Dato Haji Abd Aziz

Ministry of Religious Affairs (MORA)
Haji Harun bin Haji Juned
Haji Roslan bin Tajaah

Ministry of Development (MOD)
Haji Marzuke bin Haji Mohsin

Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT)
Khairuddin bin Abd Hamid

Ministry of Communications (MOC)
Md Riza bin Dato Paduka Hj Md Yunos

Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS)
Noorjusmin bin Haji Abd Samad

Ministry of Health (MOH)
Dr. Rahmah binti Haji Said
Dr. Hazri bin Haji Kifle

Monday, November 02, 2015

New Royal Brunei Police Force Headquarters Operational


New RBPF headquarters commences operations
on: November 01, 2015

| James Kon |

THE Royal Brunei Police Force’s (RBPF) new headquarters, located on Jalan Tungku, Gadong, has commenced operations.

The new headquarters accommodates the Administration and Finance Department, the Procurement Division, and the Agency Licensing Authority and Register of Societies Division.

Members of the public will need to register first at the counter on the ground floor prior to entering the new headquarters.

The Training Unit under the Administration and Finance Department is also located at the new headquarters, where members of the public can obtain new ASP and Inspector intake forms.

The building also houses the finance counter service, where members of the public can make payments for Certificates of Good Conduct, Police Escort, Registration of Association, tenders, Permit for Import and Storing of Weapons and Explosive Materials as well as licences.

For any inquiries regarding the services above, members of the public can contact 2459500/ 2423901 ext 742/ 745.

The new RBPF headquarters also houses the Procurement Division which provide services such as management of tender, quotation, auction and registration of supplier.

Members of the public can contact 2459500/ 2423901 ext 716 for inquires, 714 for tenders/auction, 712 for quotation and 715 for registration of supplier.

The Procurement Division counter is open from Monday to Thursday and Saturday from 8.30am to 11.30am and 2pm to 4pm in the afternoon.

The Agency Licensing Authority is open during office hours from Monday to Thursday and Saturday. Members of the public can contact 2459500/ 2423901 ext 752/ 753/ 757 for any inquiries.

The contact number for Registration of Societies is 2459500/ 2423901 ext 750/ 751.

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